A study performed by The Economist Intelligence Unit found that a company’s effective use of mobile technology correlates directly with their employees’ sense of engagement. This belies the old fear that connectivity would drain workers. Instead, Wi-Fi has become a corporate necessity. While Wi-Fi provides great benefit, it also poses increased risk. Unlike a hardwired network, all that is required to intrude in a wireless network is to be within range. Grantek is ready to help our customers harness the benefits and control the risks of WiFi.
Because smartphones are ubiquitous, automation companies develop software to run on everything from a smartphone to a desktop computer. For example, Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk VantagePoint Mobile software was developed to be easy to use on a smartphone. This means that seamless coverage is necessary throughout a facility so that users will not experience annoying shadow zones with low or nonexistent signal power. Unfortunately, factories are notorious for poor coverage for a number of reasons, ranging from electromagnetic interference (EMI) to shielding from the structure itself. Grantek has the expertise to perform a wireless site audit to determine the best access point and antenna array placement.
Of course, WiFi is not just an issue for smartphones and tablets. It is also used by industrial devices such as sensors and controllers, especially as the IIoT is incorporated into production environments. Company networks must be properly configured so production devices can connect but cannot be accessed or controlled by unauthorized users. Low level Wi-Fi access devices such as ZigBee are often designed more for ease of use and less for tight security. This is precisely opposite of what is needed in corporate and production environments. Wireless adds a risk, but Grantek can help mitigate that risk through our skill and knowledge of wireless security and network security.
Grantek conducts a discovery process to understand our clients’ true wireless needs, and we offer our customers connectivity options that not only meet the needs of the manufacturing environment but also operate within your corporate IT department’s security processes, such as creating a DMZ under the control of corporate IT. Grantek’s stewardship of our customers’ network security means we make sure our customers are aware of the risk each wireless device can pose and educate them on the ways in which Grantek mitigates those risks in an effort to maintain facility security at a high level.
We can create segregated industrial wireless networks for our customers to help isolate manufacturing data from the rest of the corporate wireless network. Our knowledge of how to do wireless mapping studies enables Grantek to devise efficient solutions for providing wireless coverage in remote or hard-to-cover areas, such as inside large refrigerators or tracking trucks as they move through a facility’s parking lot.
Grantek can help manufacturers balance security needs with the ease of use demanded by employees and customers.